From the classic, omnipresent hot dog and gyro stands to the new wave of hipster food trucks, street food is tempting and convenient and has that certain gritty appeal. A little too gritty, perhaps? Health and safety concerns don’t need to turn you off of street meat (and veggies) altogether. The next time you want to order lunch from a roving kitchen, line up at one of these businesses with organic and vegetarian options and eco-conscious operations.
A fresh, mobile take on Korean BBQ, Korilla offers meats, veggies, kimchi, and rice in the form of tacos, burritos, and chosun bowls. For those who crave meat, know that the pork and chicken are free of hormones and antibiotics. The beef is USDA Choice Grade, so it might be better quality than your typical street meat, but it’s not organic. For vegetarians who could never understand their friends’ unbridled ravings about Korean BBQ, every dish here comes with a tofu option—and the tofu is homemade and organic, so there’s no need to worry about low-quality or GMO soy products. Korilla’s “wild mountain” vegetables, which include mushrooms, flowers, roots, sprouts, and ferns, are organic as well.
The Korilla BBQ truck parks for lunch and dinner at a different locale each day of the week, ranging from Midtown down to the Financial District.
This all-vegetarian Israeli food truck is the roaming version of Taim Falafel and Smoothie Bar, a permanent fixture in the West Village named after the Hebrew word for “tasty.” The falafel is gluten free and cooked in oil that’s free of trans fat, but keep in mind that falafel is still a fried food that should be consumed in moderation. Healthier options include quinoa salad, hummus with whole wheat pita, and 100% fruit smoothies. All dairy and egg products are clearly marked so that vegans can avoid them.
Taim Mobile parks on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn, publishing its whereabouts via Twitter.
Thiru Kumar’s food cart won a Vendy Award in 2007 for its thin, crispy dosas with all-vegan fillings. The vendor/chef makes the South Indian rice-and-lentil crepes from scratch, pouring batter separately for each order while a long line forms. South Indian expats, NYU students, and anyone who works in the area, whether they’re vegetarian or not, agree that the dosa truck is one of the best hearty lunches in the Village. For street food, Kumar’s dosas are exceptionally fresh, healthy, and thoughtfully prepared, and everything on the menu is $6 or less.
Join the crowd at this popular spot on the south side of Washington Square Park from 11:00 to 4:00, Monday through Saturday.
After becoming popular in Los Angeles, the Green Truck is becoming a permanent New York fixture in spring or summer 2011. The business takes its “green” commitment seriously: the kitchen is powered by solar energy, used vegetable oil is repurposed as truck fuel, food scraps are composted at farms where the food originally came from, and utensils and packaging materials are all recyclable or biodegradable. In terms of the food, Green Truck serves up sandwiches, tacos, and salad made from all organic ingredients. The homemade veggie burger or hummus will satisfy vegans, while meat eaters can try the wild-caught fish or organically raised chicken in the form of tacos or a wrap.
The Green Truck makes appearances at special events, and will soon be stationed in the West Village.